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Netflix Should Surpass HBO Subscriber Total by Year's End
by Karl Bode 12:02PM Monday Oct 21 2013
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has long stated that he sees HBO, not the cable operators themselves, as Netflix's primary competitor. "The goal," Hastings said earlier this year, "is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us." Hastings has some good news on that front, with most projections indicating that Netflix should surpass HBO in terms of total subscribers sometime before the end of this year (30 million for Netflix to 28.7 for HBO, projects SNL Kagan). HBO has repeatedly refused to offer a standalone HBO streaming product that doesn't require a traditional cable TV subscription.

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travelguy

join:1999-09-03
Santa Fe, NM

1 edit

1 recommendation

Netflix as HBO?

Let's see what that really means:

Old Netflix - Huge catalog of DVD programs that never expire, never require additional payments to the studios.

Netflix as HBO - Small assortment of movies available for streaming each month, customers depend on Netflix to decide what they get to watch, studios can rescind rights to any movie at any time for any reason, studios can impose variable pricing on Netflix (thus Netflix customers).

Oh yeah - just can't wait.

RWSI

join:2012-11-27
Albuquerque, NM

Neat

Now all Netflix needs to do is make the service available for us Linux geeks. The game is afoot.
xenophon

join:2007-09-17

Re: Neat

Linux support is coming. Netflix is switching from Silverlight to HTML5.
shmerl

join:2013-10-21

Re: Neat

I strongly doubt it. Netflix are the primary force behind DRM in HTML (the infamous EME). And that's not going to happen in Linux, since it lacks system deep DRM unlike Windows (»www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2···s_1.html).
Not that we should want it either. I know people who stopped using Netflix after what they did in W3C.
xenophon

join:2007-09-17

Re: Neat

From what I understand ChromeOS browser can do Netflix and is plausible the DRM plugin may soon/eventually be available in Chrome browser for Linux. I could be wrong.
shmerl

join:2013-10-21

Re: Neat

May be on Linux Netflix is OK with using a superficial DRM. But that's not going to happen with open source browsers for sure, since there once you have the video frames and audio, DRM is completely irrelevant (the browser can capture them all). Windows uses a whole nasty subsystem to prevent that (it doesn't mean it's unbreakable either, but still).

ChromeOS can be tricky about it. For example, in regular (non "developer") mode, it runs only signed binaries. And signed would mean for example those which don't attempt to save video/audio in any way (this excludes all open source browsers). The moment you'll put ChromeOS in "unsigned" mode, the DRM module which EME uses will disable itself. Or something of that sort.

In general, it's pretty unpleasant that Netflix pushes this DRM garbage into HTML standard. So those who care, should probably consider voting with their wallets and avoid using it.
travelguy

join:1999-09-03
Santa Fe, NM

Re: Neat

said by shmerl:

ChromeOS can be tricky about it. For example, in regular (non "developer") mode, it runs only signed binaries. And signed would mean for example those which don't attempt to save video/audio in any way (this excludes all open source browsers). The moment you'll put ChromeOS in "unsigned" mode, the DRM module which EME uses will disable itself. Or something of that sort.

Signed by whom? Self signing is the usual way around those kinds of restrictions.
shmerl

join:2013-10-21

Re: Neat

Google may be? The point of it is a controlled installation, and excluding anything "unofficial".
mrwiggles

join:2013-06-10
Sherman, TX
Netflix DOES work on Linux if you use 'pipelight' I'm using it right now. It works great, not at all buggy or laggy like the unofficial netflix desktop wine bull shit.

»www.webupd8.org/2013/08/pipeligh···nux.html
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Netflix is not HBO

Hastings need not flatter himself.

People buy Netflix streaming because it is cheap, and DVD delivery for esoteric choices. HBO offers actual premium content.

I'm not sure why Karl thinks HBO "has to" offer a standalone streaming product, without addressing how much more they'd have to pay for the rights to content.

Would consumers pay $40+/month for standalone HBO?

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
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Reviews:
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Re: Netflix is not HBO

said by elray:

Would consumers pay $40+/month for standalone HBO?

Of course not. HBO doesn't make that much from a regular cable subscriber, so they shouldn't expect to quadruple their take just because of a different delivery system.
travelguy

join:1999-09-03
Santa Fe, NM

Re: Netflix is not HBO

said by morbo:

HBO doesn't make that much from a regular cable subscriber, so they shouldn't expect to quadruple their take just because of a different delivery system.

Ahh grasshopper - you have much to learn. Today's finance wizzkids are all taught to value price. If it is worth something to you to be able to watch on a mobile device, you pay. Makes no difference that you pay less for delivery over a cable, or indeed, that you already pay for cable delivery.
nfotiu

join:2009-01-25

Re: Netflix is not HBO

I love when people make condescending posts and have no idea what they are talking about. Current HBO subscriptions already give away free access to hbo-go on all sorts of connected and mobile devices.
travelguy

join:1999-09-03
Santa Fe, NM

Re: Netflix is not HBO

If you are referring to the use of the term "grasshopper," you might want to check out the movie King Fu...

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
said by nfotiu:

I love when people make condescending posts and have no idea what they are talking about. Current HBO subscriptions already give away free access to hbo-go on all sorts of connected and mobile devices.

exactly if you already have cable TV and HBO then HBOGo is FREE. So selling HBOGo by itself is just found money. The people paying for HBOPGO by itself is for people that don't have cable. Forcing these people to pay $100 a month for HBO just to get HBOGo isn't going to work. They'll just do without or pirate. HBO could do the billing through he cable companies since all cable companies are ISPs anyway and they cold split the money. win-win.
smcallah

join:2004-08-05
Home

Re: Netflix is not HBO

No, it's not "just found money." Because HBO would face the possibility of cable, satellite, and telcoTV companies wanting to pay less for HBO since people could now watch HBO without a cable subscription, weakening cable, satellite, and telcoTV companies' positions. And HBOgo wouldn't only be for people without TV service, as people paying for HBO would also want to not subscribe to TV directly.

If it was as easy as you imply, they'd already do it. Obviously they know they'd take in less money as they start having to discount the providers for no longer being exclusive there. Not to mention having to invest money in CDN infrastructure to support an influx of streaming only customers.

And while all cable companies may be ISPs, not all ISPs are TV providers, nor are all TV providers ISP's. So who shares the money with HBO when a Comcast customer drops HBO and has CenturyLink as their ISP to stream HBOgo? That is just not scalable.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI
said by nfotiu:

I love when people make condescending posts and have no idea what they are talking about.

I love it when people completely miss the point.

said by nfotiu:

Current HBO subscriptions already give away free access to hbo-go on all sorts of connected and mobile devices.

Important bit bolded.

I guarantee you that few people are going to pay $xx/month for a cable package, just so they can get HBO, just so they can get HBOgo "for free" on their mobile devices.

Jim
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink
Its not just a different delivery system, its on-demand, higher-resolution, and of course, subject to interception. Plus, they will be paying something for the bandwidth on your behalf.

HBO doesn't have the rights to distribute their current premium content via IP streaming - they will be paying a much higher price for it, which will be reflected in the cost of "standalone".

The current pricing model is an add-on to cable. Standalone will definitely be more costly.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
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Reviews:
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Re: Netflix is not HBO

said by elray:

The current pricing model is an add-on to cable. Standalone will definitely be more costly.

And that's why HBO will not survive in the long run. Sure, HBO may be more costly alone rather than bundled, but it won't be quadruple the cost. That is suicide.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA

Re: Netflix is not HBO

HBO costs close to $20/month as an add-on.

$40 is a mere doubling.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

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Re: Netflix is not HBO

»hbowatch.com/how-much-does-an-hb···se-days/
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA

Re: Netflix is not HBO

Thanks for illustrating my point.

HBO costs $18/month on Dish, Directv, $19 on Verizon and $20 on Comcast before taxes and franchise fees.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
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Re: Netflix is not HBO

$16/month average. " A quick average of the six prices comes to about $16 if you're counting."
smcallah

join:2004-08-05
Home

Re: Netflix is not HBO

And $16 quadrupled is $64, not $40.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

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Re: Netflix is not HBO

It's 2.5 times at the average rate. It's 3-4 times at promotional rates. My point is that even doubling the price for a standalone product is a complete joke. If HBO wants to survive, they have to figure out how to attract customers in the new landscape.

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

1 recommendation

I could watch everything worth streaming on HBO in a couple of months, then cancel my subscription until the next season's series or more interesting movies were made available. In fact, if my HBO was not bundled into my Comcast service, I'd purchase an Apple TV device and only subscribe to HBO whenever I had the time available to blast through any shows I wanted to catch. (if Comcast were not such enormous dicks, I could already stream HBO Go on my wonderful Roku 3 )

This is part of the reason that HBO won't make a standalone product available. They charge about $40 for a single season of one of their popular series to stream in HD quality. Most people could watch far more than $40 worth of programming in a single month. I mean, Game of Thrones season 2 is $38.99 at Vudu for the HD version, and it is only ten 50-minute shows.

HBO needs the cable TV subscribers to make their business successful. Without this, any standalone model would surely cannibalize their existing business.
nfotiu

join:2009-01-25

Re: Netflix is not HBO

How is that any different than now? HBO is not usually bundled except as 3 month free offers, and the most expensive all-channel bundles. HBO is generally offered a la carte, and I would imagine have heavy cancellations on the days that follow popular series finales.

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

Re: Netflix is not HBO

said by nfotiu:

How is that any different than now? HBO is not usually bundled except as 3 month free offers, and the most expensive all-channel bundles. HBO is generally offered a la carte, and I would imagine have heavy cancellations on the days that follow popular series finales.

Yes, you are correct, it really isn't much different now, unless Comcast and other ISPs only allow HBO Go to work with accounts that are locked into a contract, and not paying a-la-carte.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
But what you are missing is that many people will simply pirate HBO shows if there only alternatives are paying 4100a month through cable o waiting a year for the previous season of their favorite HBO show. It's like HBO and cable companies want to deny the existence of the internet. Should people pirate? nope. But refuse to take their money and many will.
smcallah

join:2004-08-05
Home

Re: Netflix is not HBO

The majority will not pirate though. And as soon as the majority pirates something, they will no longer have something to pirate.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
said by elray:

Hastings need not flatter himself.

People buy Netflix streaming because it is cheap, and DVD delivery for esoteric choices. HBO offers actual premium content.

I'm not sure why Karl thinks HBO "has to" offer a standalone streaming product, without addressing how much more they'd have to pay for the rights to content.

Would consumers pay $40+/month for standalone HBO?

No reason for HBOGo standalone to be more than regular HBO. $15 a month. Since most ISPs are also video providers HBO can do the billing through them and give them a cut. So cable companies do not lose revenue.

why offer it stand alone? So people that choose to cu the cord can access HBO content without resorting to piracy.
smcallah

join:2004-08-05
Home

Re: Netflix is not HBO

So how does DirecTV and Dish benefit from losing HBO subscribers in that model? Cable companies aren't the only TV providers that provide HBO.

And streaming is a much different model than broadcast TV. I think we all know that, but I had to say it.

HBO would have to up its CDN bandwidth to account for streaming only customers, that costs money. They would have to account for licensing agreements for content that is stream only.

They would also have to account for lost revenue from iTunes and other services where they charge upwards for $40 for 1 season of a show.

Do you think they'd go from making $40 for one season of a show to only $15/month for someone to be able to stream anything anytime they want?

If they offer a standalone HBOgo, it will not be the same HBOgo that TV subscribers get.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY
Last time I checked Netflix has like 6+ premium shows (ones they produced themselves), so not sure what you are smoking.

Outside of the few good shows are documentaries and old movies where you could stream or just ignore.

If say I like GOT and that's it, I could just buy on itunes, etc for $40. Verizon would charge me $18 a month for the privilege.

OR I just subscribe for a month, binge, and then quit. This isn't rocket science.

If you MUST see a show the next day, then pay. I can easily wait two years when a show comes to Netflix before watching it, and HBO is no different.

I see little reason why someone would subscribe to HBO year round UNLESS they are bundled or some discount scheme to lessen the cost, otherwise the value is tenuous.

HBO is already an add-on, so not sure why they would charge $40 a month, but it would have to be higher than cable costs, lest they would disrupt their channel model. Going direct involves customer service, marketing, support, payment, etc. These are all things their current channel (cable) does for them.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Netflix is not HBO

said by elefante72:

If say I like GOT and that's it, I could just buy on itunes, etc for $40. Verizon would charge me $18 a month for the privilege.

One big problem. Season 3 ended over 4 months ago. Still not available on ITunes won't be for another 5 months. Who wants to wait almost a year? Sorry many are going to just torrent it. not because they wouldn't pay for it but because HBO is totally moronic about how it offers it's content. If I don't have cable but still want to see last night's episode of The Walking Dead, guess what, I can go on ITunes or Amazon and buy that episode TODAY. One is much less inclined to pirate when they aren't forced to wait a year.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON
said by elray:

Would consumers pay $40+/month for standalone HBO?

I am willing to pay $0/month for HBO. Yar har har.

meidiot

@72.235.38.x

HBO helps Netflix become bigger then HBO

Subject says it all.

Probitas

@teksavvy.com

FYI...

The subscriber total for Netflix is accurate. The HBO total, not so much. HBO is part of a bundle in most cases, not normally sold separately, so their totals are about as accurate as the ones FOX hands out for the number of people who 'subscribe' to FOX NEWS CHANNEL.
smcallah

join:2004-08-05
Home

Re: FYI...

No, HBO is not part of a bundle the same way that FOX News is part of a bundle. FOX news comes with all standard digital cable bundles. HBO is always a premium add on, not in some other bundle. TV providers sell specific HBO or HBO/Cinemax packages, they don't get bundled with anything else. That is how HBO can claim almost specific subscriber numbers.

cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27

I called this years back...

..and my stock portfolio shows

Netflix will make its own content.
Folks already enjoy Lillihammer, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, with more on the way. Actors are seeing this and signing up, and so (ahem) will advertisers. Expect ads before or in the queue.

Between YouTube content, Netflix, and other apps (CrunchyRoll, HuluPlus, MLB, NFL...), cable has much to be worried about. Well, aside from still controlling the pipes that deliver Netflix.

And since Netflix streaming is $8/month... and how much is HBO? ($30? $40? a month).

Netflix is cheap. Toss in ON-Demand from apps or appliances like AppleTV or Roku...or even LIVE or PSN...via consoles... there is so much to watch.
And still much not. --
Splat

Probitas

@teksavvy.com

Re: I called this years back...

They better not. I got Netflix because it has no ads, on top of the cheap price. If they add ads, they better make it free, or they lose at least one subscriber.

IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

Choice...

People can choose either... and they're choosing Netflix more often. Says something about HBO.

Whether HBO wants to appreciate that fact is another matter.

Probitas

@teksavvy.com

there is a market, and a service to provide the product

I think HBO should offer an add-on to Netflix so customers can choose to buy it. Maybe 5-7 dollars a month. I think that would sell. Then the cable companies could eat it. If HBO decides not to, they are shooting themselves in the foot foolishly. Old style delivery is on it's way out, just like it happened to the music industry, and they are still fighting it. Give it up, get with the times.